“What’s prayer walking?” This was the usual response if I mentioned my prayer walking habit to a local friend. “Well, it’s praying while walking and walking while praying. It’s a good way to intercede for the people in your community.”
Finally it dawned on me to invite my weekly small group to go prayer walking with me. “Akiko” said yes! And that was how it all began.
Over that year, Akiko and I prayer walked her neighborhood three times. She said she had never prayed for her neighbors before, but now she prayed for them regularly and started inviting them to church events.
From this experience, I decided to create a workshop for churches, where I could teach some basics about prayer walking and give people a chance to do it right then and there. Giving this workshop at several churches in Hokkaido and Tokyo became one of the greatest joys of my time in Japan. Each time, I saw the participants move from skeptical to engaged and even excited about how they could go forward in praying for their communities. Here are some comments people shared about their experience:
I never realized how many shrines there were in this neighborhood before, even though I’ve worked here for over 10 years. This wasn’t difficult, like I imagined it would be. I feel like this is something I could do every week!
I never noticed how many old people live right around the church. I would like to pray about how the church can connect with them. The last three years we have been really busy. I realized today that I had lost touch with the people who live right around the church. It was good to pray for them again. (from a pastor)
As we walk and talk with God, He will show us what is on His heart for the people who live, work and play there. Our prayers are an important part of the great adventure of being used by God to show His love and truth to those around us. Why not ask a friend to join you in prayer walking your neighborhood this week?
For a 6-week prayer walking guide, designed for use in churches and/or small groups, please click on this link. (The guide is in English and Japanese.)
By Christina, an OMF Missionary